A trendy 114-room Florida-themed hotel with two fine dining restaurants and a laid-back resort style, may replace a languishing New Smyrna Beach beachside shopping center previously anchored by an Outback Steakhouse.
On the drawing board since November 2016, Hyatt Place New Smyrna Beach was given thumbs up by the Planning and Zoning Board Oct. 2, paving the way for consideration by the City Commission, according to Tony Otte, the city's community redevelopment director.
City planners signed off on the long sought-after project following months of working out details with the property owner.
If a proposed public trolley system is launched, the developer also agreed to designate the property as a “stop” along a busy route that will serve the Canal Street, Third Avenue and Flagler Avenue areas.
Judging from its 275-location worldwide footprint, the hotel brand appears to be a good fit for New Smyrna Beach.
"Created for multi-blenders with 24/7 lifestyles seeking a select-service hotel that will allow them to balance work and play, Hyatt Place is a new generation of hotels that offer casual hospitality in a smartly designed, high-tech and modern environment," the Hyatt Place website proclaims, "The brand is an industry leader in defining the upscale select-service category, and still exclusively offers food and beverage options freshly prepared 24-hours a day, seven days a week."
The nearest Hyatt Place Hotels are in Daytona Beach Shores and Orlando.
The shopping center property at 429 East Third Ave., at the east end of the North Causeway Bridge, has long been identified by the city as a high priority for redevelopment.
The plaza, once a Winn Dixie Supermarket site, had been anchored by an Outback Steakhouse until the restaurant abruptly closed in February 2016. When the doors shut, the multi-storefront shopping center had only one other tenant.
Briefly advertised for sale at $3.9 million, the owner, Capolupo Land Trust of Salisbury, Mass., proposed in November to construct the hotel/restaurant complex on the prominently located waterfront site.
After months of meetings, trustee Richard S. Capolupo and city planners reached an agreement over height and building facades, reducing the number of floors from the requested six to five. The structure would feature Florida Vernacular architecture with white framed windows, matching awnings, coquina stone and Hardie Board, or similar wood siding, according to city staff.
The revised agreement also specified lush tropical landscaping and the design of out parcels to harmonize with the proposed hotel and several out parcels, according to city documents.
Besides two full-service restaurants planned with the hotel, other development could be done on 7.4 acres of the 9.5-acre waterfront tract that overlooks Callalisa Creek and the Indian River.
The property is the southern gateway to the beachside and Third Avenue business district, which features shopping, dining, entertainment and beach access.
While the property was on the market, the listing agent, Travous Dever of Keyes Commercial Real Estate, was quoted as saying several prospective buyers had expressed interest but both the city and property owner wanted a high profile project, such as a hotel or restaurant, to serve as the gateway.
“We wanted something beautiful for the entry,” he said, noting the property owner realized it could take six to 12 months before an announcement could be made of any planned project.
The new hotel would be located within the city’s Coronado Beach neighborhood, which extends from east Third Avenue south to the city limits.
In reaching a deal with the city, the property owner agreed to landscape and landscape buffers, plus a minimum of 20 shrubs, two “understory” trees and two canopy trees for every 100 linear feet of landscape buffer.
In addition, the developer agreed to work with the city to remove invasive Brazilian Pepper plants from the property.
Entrances and exits for the site would use a two-way entrance, which will lead to the hotel’s parking lot. The exit on Third Avenue will be restricted to right turns only.